Kevin Scott Johnson II

Kevin Scott Johnson II
Aerial photo taken of the flooded area where Carnegie Hero Kevin Scott Johnson II was swept away while attempting to save his grandmother, Willa M. Pennington, from drowning. Photo courtesy of Kevin Bolling.
Kevin Scott Johnson II
Carnegie Hero Kevin Scott Johnson II, right, with his grandmother, Willa M. Pennington. Johnson died while attempting to save Pennington from drowning.

Kevin Scott Johnson II died attempting to save Willa M. Pennington from drowning, Flat Gap, Kentucky, July 13, 2015.

Pennington, 74, was inside her mobile home as severe thunderstorms moved through the vicinity, causing nearby Big Mudlick Creek to flood. Her grandson, Johnson, 34, store clerk of Flat Gap, responded to the scene to aid her and other family members and had just entered the mobile home to remove her when a surge of floodwater lifted it from its foundation.

As the current was washing the mobile home away, Johnson exited to the rear porch, holding Pennington. They jumped into the water together, followed by a boy who had been inside the structure. All three held each other until they were able to grab onto a tree. When a wooden structure floated by, Johnson placed Pennington on it, and the boy climbed atop it, Johnson remaining in the water. They were swept farther downstream and were separated.

The boy climbed a tree from which he was later rescued. Search crews found Pennington’s body the following day and Johnson’s three days later. He had drowned.